Designing, implementing and monitoring net zero strategies are part of a ‘road map’ guide to cutting emissions in public buildings, published by the government.
The Cabinet Office said the Net Zero Estate Playbook would guide public sector organisations on how to reduce carbon emissions, and help to reduce the environmental impact of the country’s largest property portfolio.
The public sector estate – including offices, hospitals, prisons and job centres – is working to a target of delivering a 78 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035. The guidance aims to ensure that a consistent approach, such as using solar panels, LED lighting and greener building materials, is applied across public buildings.
The guidance will make national infrastructure greener by giving departments, the public sector, and government property professionals clear guidance on the design, implementation, and monitoring of net zero strategies and delivery programmes.
The playbook contains guidance on defining and measuring emissions, and a ‘Net Zero Roadmap’ to provide a consistent framework for reaching targets.
The roadmap gives guidance on how to follow steps such as assigning roles and responsibilities and determining a project governance structure, understanding the estate, maintenance, setting a baseline energy model, setting net zero targets, incorporating modern construction methods, approving and funding projects, going to market and final delivery.
It also lists pitfalls to look out for including lack of effective engagement with stakeholders and inadequate resources and skills to deliver the overall programme.
The playbook says: “Decarbonisation is not a quick fix and is likely to be delivered over a sustained period of time, so this playbook focuses on the management and structuring of the overall programme, as well as the beginning of the delivery through the commissioning of projects. The majority of properties in the estate or portfolio are likely to be existing and therefore the Playbook focuses on the upgrading, retrofitting or refurbishing of existing stock.”
The Cabinet Office cited the recently opened Department for Work and Pensions hub in Tŷ Taf, Wales, as an example that follows the principles of the playbook, with its solar-powered technology and electric vehicle-charging points.
The government said that the guidance would also help the Department of Health and associated public bodies improve the sustainability of their hospitals through the use of low-carbon materials and improved understanding of a building’s environmental impact over its entire lifespan.
The Net Zero Estate Playbook supports existing policies designed to drive the UK towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, including the 25-Year Environmental Plan, the Greening Government Commitments, and the Net Zero Strategy, which was published in October 2021.
Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said that the public estate generated 2 per cent of the UK’s total emissions, making decarbonising these buildings crucial to meeting environmental targets.
“Property professionals should use the playbook to turn best-practice into standard-practice. It will put the public estate in a stronger position to deliver a 78 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035, and fully net zero by 2050.”
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